Conflicts & War

Hopes increase of rapprochement between Pakistan, India

Islamabad, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- The prime minister of India sent a letter Wednesday to his Pakistani counterpart on the occasion of its national day, sparking hopes of a rapprochement between the two nuclear armed neighbors in conflict.

However, disputes over the Kashmir region, parts of which are controlled by each of the countries continues to remain a stumbling block in bilateral relations between them.

“As a neighboring country, India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan,” Narendra Modi wrote to Imran Khan.

However, Modi reiterated that for this, “an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative,” referring to India’s accusations of Islamabad sponsoring terrorism in Indian soil.

In Pakistan, several members of the government welcomed Modi’s letter, but also reiterated Islamabad’s position on Kashmir, over which they have fought two major wars and had numerous skirmishes since gaining independence from the British in 1947.

“Gesture of goodwill is welcome but India must realise that an environment of ‘trust, devoid of terror and hostility’ can only come about when Indian state terrorism in IIOJK (Kashmir) & in Pak ends,” Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted.

Other members of the Pakistani government also expressed similar views.

Modi’s letter comes amid a certain thaw in the tense relations, following a commitment at the end of February to respect the ceasefire along their borders and the Line of Control (LoC) divides Kashmir between them.

Around 50 people died and more than 300 were wounded in cross-border firing in 2020 between India and Pakistan, according to data from the two countries.

A week ago, Khan urged Modi to take the first step towards a possible peace, in a restrained speech that unlike his earlier ones did not compare him to Adolf Hitler, while the powerful Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa said it was time for the two neighbors to “bury the past.”

These developments have raised hopes of resumption of dialog after one of their worst crises between them as New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status in August 2019.

Islamabad had responded to the Indian move with the expulsion of the Indian ambassador and the suspension of bilateral trade.

In February that same year, the two neighbors also suffered their worst military escalation in years with bombings and dogfight between fighter jets. EFE-EPA


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